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April 13 2011

IWF in the News: How Wide Is The Wage Gap?

Carrie L. Lukas

One of the most provocative articles on the web today is the an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal by Carrie Lukas titled: There is No Male-Female Wage Gap.

Lukas dismisses out-of-hand the long-held fact that women earn, on average, about 77 cent on the dollar to men. Many other factors are at play, says Lukas, including women's conscious decision to choose occupations that are "safer" and thus pay less. Women also work a shorter day, on average, than men. She also points out that many men, especially those in certain trades, are seeing an outright job depression.

Clever stuff, but Lukas, who is the executive director of the Independent Women's Forum, fails to point out at least one vital reality: Women generally are paid less for the very same work. That, ultimately, is the real wage gap, and several studies have shown that women earn much less than men across the board in various occupations, whether it's nursing, waiting tables, running a human resources department, or practicing law. One study by the U.S. Department of Education found that women, when other factors that may contribute to lower pay are taken into account, are paid 5 percent less one year after graduation and 12 percent after 10 years.

Locally, Evelyn Murphy leads the Wage Project, and is working to educate women about the fundamental wage inequality. Murphy called the Wall Street Journal article "disingenuous." I'm guessing that most women with any significant experience in the job market would agree, knowing in her bones that there remains a serious wage gap.

Read more: How wide is the wage gap? | Boston Business Journal  

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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